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ERIC Number: EJ867874
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 18
ISSN: ISSN-0039-8322
English in Globalisation, a Lingua Franca or a Lingua Frankensteinia?
Phillipson, Robert
TESOL Quarterly: A Journal for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages and of Standard English as a Second Dialect, v43 n2 p335-339 Jun 2009
TESOL declares that it is a global organization. TESOL's expansionist ambitions dovetail with U.S. corporate and government global aims. This trend leads the author to conclude that even if U.S. TESOL were to more actively embrace the other languages of its emerging bilinguals, the languages of a more multilingual TESOL would still be hierarchically ordered. "Globalizing" English is incompatible with balanced multilingualism--though this is not (yet?) the case where English is relatively successfully learned as a foreign language in Europe, and where U.S. TESOL is virtually unknown. There is currently a widespread concern that European languages are experiencing "domain loss," in research publication, in higher education, business, and international relations. This is a real risk, but the term itself is inappropriate because it conceals agency. When English supplants another language, what happens is that users of English (whether as a first or second language) accumulate linguistic capital and others are dispossessed of their languages, their territory, and their functions. Analysis of such processes can be strengthened by distinguishing between the project, processes, and products. The promotion of "global" English is a "project" (making English the default language internationally and increasingly intranationally), for which the "processes" tend to be normalized and legitimated by political, scholarly, and educational cheerleaders (inappropriate advocacy and pedagogy), which serve to consolidate "products" (Anglo-U.S. linguistic norms, with local variation). Linguistic capital dispossession, which subtractive language learning or use promotes, means that English takes over space that earlier was occupied by the national language or the mother tongue. The author contends that what is therefore needed as a more ethical alternative is international English "projects" that strike a sustainable balance between English and other languages, through "processes" that lead to multilingual competence. Additive English for specific purposes is desirable, provided English learning and use are situated in local multilingual ecologies. There is an urgent need for professional rethinking and for the political will to address such language policy issues. (Contains 4 footnotes.)
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. 700 South Washington Street Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314. Tel: 888-547-3369; Tel: 703-836-0774; Fax: 703-836-7864; Fax: 703-836-6447; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A